Religious Indifference

New Perspectives from Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion

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Johannes Quack, Cora Schuh
  • New York, NY: 
    Springer Publishing
    , April
     273 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Phil Zuckerman forthcoming.


This book provides a conceptually and empirically rich introduction to religious indifference on the basis of original anthropological, historical and sociological research. 

Religious indifference is a central category for understanding contemporary societies, and a controversial one. For some scholars, a growing religious indifference indicates a dramatic decline in religiosity and epitomizes the endpoint of secularization processes. Others view it as an indicator of moral apathy and philosophical nihilism, whilst yet others see it as paving the way for new forms of political tolerance and solidarity. 

This volume describes and analyses the symbolic power of religious indifference and the conceptual contestations surrounding it. Detailed case studies cover anthropological and qualitative data from the UK, Germany, Estonia, the USA, Canada, and India analyse large quantitative data sets, and provide philosophical-literary inquiries into the phenomenon. They highlight how, for different actors and agendas, religious indifference can constitute an objective or a challenge. Pursuing a relational approach to non-religion, the book conceptualizes religious indifference in its interrelatedness with religion as well as more avowed forms of non-religion.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Johannes Quack is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Zurich. His (ethnographic) research interests include popular Hinduism, secularism and nonreligion, therapeutic pluralism, and knowledge (trans)formations in general. He is the author of Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India (OUP, 2012) and co-edits the book series Religion and Its Others: Studies in Religion, Nonreligion, and Secularity (De Gruyter).

Cora Schuh was a research associate in the Emmy Noether Project “The Diversity of Nonreligion”, headed by Johannes Quack. She graduated from Cultural Studies at the University of Leipzig, where she was also part of the project “Multiple Secularities”, headed by Monika Wohlrab-Sahr. She is currently working on her PhD thesis on “Nonreligion, Secularity and Politics: Social Liberalism in the Netherlands” (working title). 

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